I am the #1 finder in our house. If something is lost, I’m the one that gets called in pretty quick. Sometimes too quickly.
I’ve threatened people in my family. If I find it upon entering your room and just looking around, I’m going to be…not happy, I say.
While I packed to go on a trip once, I opened the cabinet where we kept our nice DSLR camera. My destination was beautiful and I wanted to beef up my stock of photos. The cabinet opened and no camera.
This puzzled me because I’d taken a trip the week before with the camera and was sure it came home with me. I backtracked my steps and remembered that when I got off the plane at home, I left it in the overhead bin. I’d left it and lived in great peace and calmness not knowing our expensive camera was gone.
But I was headed to the airport so I decided to just check and see if they had a lost and found. My experience with losing things in Asia was not great. If you left something somehwere, it was no longer there 5 minutes later. My hope was almost nonexistent.
You know what? I came home with our camera.
There was a lost and found. The camera was waiting. To claim it, we needed to look at the photos. Bummer, dead battery. So I described the photos of the panda reserve, little blonde kids, and a wide smile wreathed the woman’s face.
She remembered the photos and gave me back our camera! I was so happy.
Losing things is not fun. Finding things is so much more fun.
Here’s a few things that guide my searches…
It will not come to you. The essence of lost things is that they do not know they are lost and they cannot get back. We’re talking about things here. They just are where we left them. They’re not going to come back to us on their own. They must be found. Waiting around isn’t going to bring them back.
Lost things do not come back on their own.
Where was it last? Start there. You see, lost things are where they are. They are things and they don’t know they are lost. They do not move on their own. It’s obvious and easy to forget when looking, but you must backtrack and determine where the item was last.
You must go and discover where the lost thing is if you want to find it.
What was happening? If backtracking doesn’t work, then think about what was happening. In the panic of losing things, my family members generally resist my questions. They feel antagonistic and blaming. What were you doing? spoken to a sensitive soul feels accusatory.
But, it helps me to know if the shoes are under the chair where Xbox is played or in the backyard because they were contaminated with the dog waste.
Discovering the story around the loss will help you know where to look.
Why can’t we see it? So often, I find things because I lifted something else. The calculator was under the shirt. The keys were in the pants pocket. The stuffed tiger was in the microwave (yes, that’s a funny story of sibling rivalry).
Sometimes the item is hiding under something. Well, it isn’t hiding but it got covered up and needs to be uncovered.
Be persistent. Ask dumb questions. Basic elementary questions like what was I carrying? Where would I be if I were Ali’s camera after an airplane trip? Keep asking and don’t give up hope that there’s a lost and found when nothing ever seems to get found.
Persistence and hope lead us much farther than despair.
Wait. Somethings are only found by waiting. When we’ve exhausted the search, sometimes we need to wait. Often, one day it will just show up in the least expected place.
Time can uncover what our abilities cannot.
Pray. The much loved stuffed Tiger was lost for three days. Three days of comforting a crying boy with a second best toy at night. I related my small dilemma to a friend on the phone. She said she’d pray. I prayed a one liner to God that moment, looked to my left and saw Tigey stuffed between the fridge and the wall.
God can find things for us when we ask for help.
As I walked around campus and my city this week and talked to people who are seeking God, I started thinking about finding.
Do I really search for people? It haunts me a little
I hope I can be as good at finding lost people as I am at finding my kids calculator.